The Coming Election

In 2008 I voted for Barack Obama with enthusiasm. This time I’ll be voting for him as the lesser of two evils. One thing I pray that I’ve learned once and for all is that under the current setup there’s no chance of a truly good man or woman getting into the White House and doing good things. I don’t know what Obama’s original intentions were, but it seems to me that as soon as he got into office he was taken aside and told how things really work. He could either go along or be destroyed. I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. That’s how empires do business, and this is an empire. Eventually, like all empires, it will come apart. Actually, I think that’s already begun to happen.

I would sooner live in Greece than under another Republican president. That’s not hyperbole. I’ve been to Greece and I liked it. I think Greece will soon be out of the global economy, which would make the idea even more attractive to me. (It’s also possible that it will, in effect, lose its sovereignty and become nothing more than a playground for the rich.) But moving to another country is extremely difficult. So even if the nightmare of a Romney presidency were to come about, I see it as highly doubtful that I’d be able to pull it off. I can’t dismiss the idea entirely, though. Romney keeps making bigger and bigger deals with the devil. (This is the first time, by the way, I’ve ever had the wish that I could leave the country. It’s not something I do every election year.)

What a strange, strange time we live in. I’ve seen strange times that are good, but this ain’t one of ’em. It’s not that I don’t believe there’s any hope. I do. (I know people who believe that having any hope at all is “hopelessly naive.”) But the hope I see is extremely difficult—probably impossible—to make understandable at this point in time.

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51 Responses to “The Coming Election”

  1. Thoma Lile Says:

    I have seriously considered leaving this country twice over the past twelve years or so. I first wanted to leave the U.S. when Bush invaded Iraq, because I was so disheartened not at the invasion which I think is par for the course for the GOP, but at how many of my fellow citizens approved and seriously seemed to think that we were “fighting for our freedom.” The second time I’ve seriously considered leaving has been from my disappointment at how many of my fellow citizens apparently prefer to continue funding our war machine instead of funding health care for us. Our American values are so horribly backwards that I feel like I’m living in a science fiction novel! But to be honest, I don’t know where else I would go or how I’d survive once I got there now that I’m 54 years old. Thank you for a thoughtful post, Mark.

    • markbittner Says:

      I’m 60 and that has much to do with my own sense of it being impossible. Plus, Judy doesn’t like the idea. I think there is at least an element of provocation in my writing about this. (Greece???) But when I stop to imagine another season with the Republican Party and its sociopathic agenda at the helm, it’s not that difficult to want to go. My hunch is that Obama will be reelected. I won’t celebrate this time, though.

  2. joe rosas Says:

    dear mark,i know how you feel,as we up in great white north
    (canuckistan) have been trying to survive a regime (as of the
    last elections) Worse than the republicains! They actually
    see Chancelor Harper & his ministry of theocratic social darwinism
    as an example to emulate!…oh for the days of Trudeau & draft-
    dodgers! However,the expession “losing all hope is freedom”
    (fight club) may have it’s point,as in those of us who disagree with
    the right could very well choose to go off-grid,gather to some
    degree amongst ourselves,& continue to celebrate the important
    things in life (art,wine,food,friends,health) allthewhile waiting for
    the rest of the world to finally give up & realize that the hard choices
    are already here; i.e.less & happy,or more & living in fear.
    You yourself (& i would imagine your better half) are already well
    versed in happiness & contentment on less than barely nothing
    materially.(only one of many reasons i await the publication of
    street song with great anticipation) Carl Jung believed that we
    introverts needed to protect ourselves from the world around
    us to a certain degree,sensitivity has it’s price.On the other hand,
    when things go catastrophicly sideways,it’s the introverts who know
    what to do,(have you heard/seen how urban guerrilla farmers are
    now feeding detroit? Even managing to pay thier bills & educate
    people in the process?) I suppose part if what i’m suggesting
    is that introverts often feel disproportionate responsibility for/and/or/
    towards the world around them;let the people come to Alexander,
    (historical greek figure),when things get bad enough they will.
    You’re already doing more than your share just being you &
    sharing your experience with the rest of us.(elizabeth gilbert,
    “eat,pray,love”) This being said,i’m off to tend to rustic tomatoes &
    a dog who only asks to help out by running around & seeing to it
    no terrorist squirrels show up to disturb our important work.
    Keep on keepin’ on,joe.

  3. Chandani Diaz Says:

    I see your point. We were staunch Obama supporters (even campaigned for him). We will vote for him again but the “honeymoon effect” is over. I’ve never figured out why a third party hasn’t taken hold in USA. We’ve been dreaming and dreaming and hoping that SOMEDAY USA could have a health system like Canada’s….but whenever anyone even hints about it, the Republicans immediately label it “Communist” or “Socialist”. We have a LOT to learn from our northern neighbours. I knew a lady (in USA) who took all 4 of her alloted maternity weeks. She had been “warned” NOT to “abuse by taking ALL 4 weeks” – when she returned – her job was still there, but her office had been moved to a broom closet. In Canada there is a 6-month full pay maternity/paternity leave and an additional 6 months at 1/2 pay. We treat our citizens really badly. Still – we’d never vote for a Republican – no way!

    • markbittner Says:

      I just had my first encounter with the health insurance system and was denied. I saw that they have formulas and if you don’t fit into the formula they will refuse you. They don’t have any place for real explanations. All they care about is their numbers. I knew the system was bad, but it’s only when you have to confront the reality of something that you can take in what it is. It felt like madness.

  4. Dc Says:

    I feel very much like you and the rest of the people who have commented so far. I must confess that I have lost hope. I’ve considered leaving the country too. I’m 54, have no health insurance and no job.

    • markbittner Says:

      It almost feels pointless to say it, but I think we get one more chance. I don’t think that’s merely wishful thinking, but I don’t know how to put into just a few words what I see. The book I’m working on deals with it in some detail.

  5. tz Says:

    Did you hear my sigh of agreement? What a feeling, to read such common sense and rational comments. Such things are in short supply these days, as most are carried away in the great daily nonsensical drama.
    I cannot abandon my fragment of hope for the next four years- they may find us holding onto what little ground we have left… but then, I am the eternal optimist. I agree that if Mr. Obama was not chained by a “control collar” that perhaps this decent and intelligent man could make some wonderful changes for humanity in America.

    As far as insurance companies go, having personally fought for patients’ benefits for 20 yrs in a system that seems to compare not so vaguely to the sanity of Lewis Carroll’s tea party in Alice in Wonderland… all I can offer is the advice “STAY WELL”. BIG business rules our healthcare system, and that business makes money when they keep us moderately ill. Seems like most of us are doing our part there.
    For my sanity, I fled to my own fortress in the country and do try to live as close to a hermit’s life as possible, concerning myself with such matters as dogs and squirrels, for these should be the things we are thinking on each day, and not such terrible matters that are foisted upon us by the greedy and insane.

    • markbittner Says:

      Actually, I didn’t hear your sigh. I was braced for a hailstorm of negative feedback. I’m happy to know that I’m not the only who sees that we are surrounded by insanity. As some others here have said, I tend to keep my head low and try to focus on that what seems real to me. There will come a time when the door to change opens again. I want to be ready to walk through it, to know enough to be helpful.

  6. Kathy Says:

    I second the emotion. I too at age 54(3 of us responding to this post!!!) am planning to retire to SW France in a village with a railway line, small house with a garden. Yes, it is difficult and takes considerable planning to uproot and rehome.

    I am not happy with our country. Obama I believe has been thwarted at every turn by the Republican machine (which he likely did NOT plan for)…and at this point i don’t see a plan by him in place to turn anything around…just the industrial/military/medical/agribiz complex operating as usual.

    I find small beacons of hope in grass roots movements against agribusiness and traditional cancer treatment and going local. We the people are building a slow awareness, but I don’t have time to wait for it, so I will remove myself to a less corrupt locale with deep pastoral values which have been sustained over hundreds of years…a little like going underwater and letting the world go on overhead.

  7. Lynn Says:

    Mark, you were braced for a hailstorm of negative feedback? Really? Everyone I know has suffered in some major way since the 2008 crash. My dad lost his business and owes tens of thousands of dollars to creditors. I lost my home and am once again a renter, and also had to give up my health care policy (I’m self-employed) after the company I was with raised my rates 33% this past January. No one else will cover me now because of a pre-existing thyroid condition, and so I’m uninsured.

    I feel like the progress this country has made in the past 50 years is being completely erased. I recently was talking to a friend of mine about how life is becoming more and more of a struggle for almost everyone. He agreed with me when I said that if things continue on the path they are on, this country will be back to where it was 200 years ago. We’ll be the new breed of Native Americans, moving our mobile teepee colonies from one area of the country to another, as the changing of the seasons and the need for gathering food and supplies dictates.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I feel like the people of this country are on a speeding train that has lost its brakes. I think the possibility of a happy ending is small.

    • markbittner Says:

      I was braced for a hailstorm of negative feedback because I’m essentially a hermit these days working on my book and I’m not sure what people in general are thinking. It was a more negative post than I usually do, and I often see that when you put out negativity you get some back. I just wasn’t sure what the response would be.

    • Kathy Says:

      Actually, I think what I see is you are hearing from us other hermits!! I also am involved with my dogs and my garden and so on…as others have mentioned….

  8. JB Says:

    I wonder about Greece. Some people I know really enjoy visiting there as well. I have never been. I recently became aware of the Greek political party known as the Golden Dawn. They are troubling.

    I recommend this blogger for an very recent look into visiting Greece:

    https://kategale.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/the-ideal-greece-vs-the-greece-one-sees-mostly-food-in-greece/

  9. Margaret Benbow Says:

    Obama has my vote as well. I think he’s a truly intelligent and selfless man whose one fault, in the beginning of his term, was to naively hold out the hand of friendship to Republicans and assume they could work together. Of course they spit on that hand. What he should have done was take advantage of the great wave of popularity on which he’d entered office, and railroad through one crucial ground-breaking law after another as quickly as possible. His heart was in the right place, but he didn’t know how to use his power. Now, I think, he does.

    The problem with leaving America is that you would always be a stranger in a foreign land. I think it’s better to stay, and in effect say to Tea Partyers and Bushites and the other crazies, “You can’t have my country. I am not giving it to you.”

    • markbittner Says:

      For us to get the country back will take a tremendous effort, a tremendous amount of education. Most people are into frivolous endeavors. How do you get their attention? I think something frightening has to happen first. In America that usually means serious economic trouble. That is going to happen and it will be our opportunity.

      On Jun 16, 2012, at 7:01 AM,

    • tz Says:

      Totally agreeing with you, Margaret! and as far as Mark’s comment about “something frightening/serious economic troubles” being necessary, I agree with that as well. We might do well to return to where were were 200 yrs ago (as Lynn stated above) and once again become hunter/gatherers… as humans were intended to be, where life was harsh enough to keep our parasitic numbers in check. History shows us that all things cycle, and I think we’ve passed the stage of life easily affording so many of us (here in the U.S.) an existence of convenience and relative luxury.

  10. Lynn Says:

    The hunter/gatherers were in tune with the universe. They didn’t watch television for 5 hours a day and spend 40-60 hours a week chasing money and material things, as most of us do now. We need to get back to the basics, and I don’t think most people are going to do that voluntarily. It’s going to take a 2×4 to the forehead, in most cases.

    • Thoma Lile Says:

      Personally, I don’t want to return several millenia backwards to being hunters and gatherers. That life was harsh. There’s a reason that human technologies evolved to pastoral, agrarian, industrial, and post-industrial societies: Humans wanted better lives. Our lives improved so that women were not dying during and post-childbirth. Children survived past the age of six years old. Many common traumatic injuries and chronic medical conditions are now treatable and survivable. We developed written language. We developed mathematics. I believe in human progress. Are we on the wrong track now in this country? Not all of us are. We have to change our society’s direction, not return to flint arrow head spears, wondering if our children might live through infancy, watching our daughters die during breech births, and resigning ourselves to dying if we break a bone. It’s romantic to think that hunter-gatherers were in tune with the universe, but in reality, they were subjugated to the whims of nature.

    • markbittner Says:

      What we could do but haven’t done is integrate the aspects of “progress” that are useful while discarding the rest. We currently live solely to push ahead constantly n that one arena. I think we’re way past the point of what we actually need. Progress has become an enormous burden.

    • Thoma Lile Says:

      I understand, Mark, and agree. It’s our economic systems that are fouled up. The economy controls our progress now, so much so that progress equates to consumerism for most of us. Progress doesn’t have to be material.

  11. Kathy Says:

    Margaret…
    I know you and I may disagree and I respect your opinion….and I would like to add that Europe is not very foreign to me, I spent years there as a child and all vacations as an adult, travelling on my own…and I appreciate their values, customs and culture better than the ones in this country…I would rather be a stranger in a foreign land at this point…it is a challlenge I would enjoy in retirement (even if i have to “gasp” give up Medicare….please understand I mean no offense….

  12. joe rosas Says:

    dear everybody,the replies i’ve read here in the last 2 days have
    done much to lift my spirits,thanx all,..as per being to old to start
    over,for so long as one still has one’s health & one’s wits intact,it’s
    just a question of creativity & voluntary simplicity,..a 50yr old
    friend of mine decided at that age after tending his used bookstore
    20 some-odd years on the same street corner in a poor part of
    town (imagine pushing poetry in a ghetto!…if you can survive that!)
    that it was time he moved before the city ground him & his girlfriend down to zip,
    & so sank the little he gathered into a small dying town old small
    house (but cheap!) with enough garden to give him a good capacity
    to be at least partly self-sufficient (a word that reduces economists
    & politicians nowadays to epileptic fits) as per veggies & other
    wonders,..& proceded to..(like everybody in the village),..work in
    the fields & local flower & gardening centers! He’s never been
    happier! O.k,a few aches & pains,but winter’s a slow season,the
    throwouts from the hothouses he’s built an incredible garden with,
    heating?Mostly woodstove(also cooking!) Says any stress he’s
    ever experienced is GONE,trades with local (no gmo’s here)
    farmers & nieghbors,& has never eaten better,…go to wrk,tend
    the garden,fix the house,have a cheap beer & a smoke watching
    your iron pots simmer all manner of rabbit,pig,chicken,beef,
    bacon with no salt,soups & beans & more allthewhile watching the
    snow fall & reading a good second hand or borrowed book,

    No more what do people think of the car/house,what do i look like?

    Just Life,& the time to Live it & Be,were enough of us to do this,
    wallstreet coundn’t do a damn thing about it.

    Along the same lines of thinking,might i humbly recomend:
    The Tyee,one of the best independant pbs/npr-style online
    newspapers Ever,chock-full-o-practical-possibilities or ideas for
    those of us looking for a change.

    Happy father’s/teacher’s/mentor’s/friend & father figure’s day,everyone!

    Joe.

    • markbittner Says:

      They used to say that we have to live the revolution. It’s true, but it got lost. The right wing lives its revolution. They be greedy. Our revolution is harder, but its better and smarter.

  13. Thoma Lile Says:

    Sometimes I feel completely out of step with everyone else. I’m about to turn 55 years old and as I have mentioned, I’m disappointed in the direction the conservatives in our country are taking us. I have considered moving to another country, but I haven’t found one with a society that I can truly support. I don’t want to leave this beautiful country unless I’m going to have a better life somewhere else with health care for all of the citizens and a military for defense and not for invasions as well as other human rights and social progress. I would gladly support such a country and would love to join it. It’s not going to happen. The closest that I have found to it is Canada, but I don’t meet their immigration rules. I have to stay here in the U.S.

    I read so many comments here from people who want to live in the country and off of the land without many modern conveniences, some without any modern conveniences at all. I would be bored to death if all I had for a life was digging in a garden and sitting all night reading a book! As disappointed as I am in my government, I refuse to stop living. I’m returning to graduate school to study economic analysis next year. Although my IT job outsourced to India eight years ago, I picked myself up and found a teaching job. I have taught high school math and I’m thrilled to be teaching technical subjects next year. I continue to study mathematics and pursue other interests.

    I never did spend a lot of money on “stuff,” but I enjoy watching movies on Netflix. I don’t have cable TV or the latest gadgets. I have a prepaid cell phone to call my mother on that runs me about $24 a month, but no landline. I drive a 17 year old car and a 25 year old car, switching them out based on which one is running at the moment. I own an inexpensive 30 year old condo.

    I have found that I can pursue my interests, have a few conveniences and comforts, work an OK job, and socialize with like-minded people without dropping out of society.

    One of the things that troubles me about the right-wing Christians is their fatalistic belief that their god is returning soon. I sense that they don’t really want to avoid wars or work to improve our country, because they think it would not be worth their time given that they’ll be taken up into the clouds at any moment. I am 100% sure that they will all leave the planet by dying like any other human. They’re convinced otherwise and end up allowing bad things to happen through their own inaction and by believing in strange prophecies. I don’t think they’re bad people necessarily, but they are very misguided.

    I’m sensing a similar fatalism from some of the other side of the political spectrum here. I understand that there’s a sense among some people that an apocalypse is coming that will force us to what? Try to grow enough food in our backyards to survive? My mother’s family were farmers during the depression. The only way they survived was by going without and eating possums, raccoons, and crows that my grandfather trapped or shot. The only reason they had those animals available was because they had 168 acres of woods surrounded by even more woods. Any less land and they would have killed all of the animals in a short time.

    They weren’t able to grow enough of a variety of foods to support the family. They sold some of what they grew to purchase what they couldn’t. And it was not a great life. My mother doesn’t speak fondly of having all manner of critters in a pot boiling. They were basically trying to keep from starving and they did this by eating whatever flew over or scampered across their land and having less than nutritious meals. My family helped their neighbors. The children lived with aunts in town and went to school. They loved their neighbors. They even loved the ones that they couldn’t stand to be around.

    What I’m saying here in a rambling way is that we cannot run away from our society no matter how much we can’t stand some of the people living with us in it. We are all products of the same society. I wrote earlier that human progress is more than technology and materials. Human progress can also be measured in how our society adapts so that everyone is cared for. We want social progress. Running away won’t accomplish that. Labeling humans as parasites and wishing more would die or giving up and planning an escape from a prophesied apocalypse only sustains the status quo. The poster who said we need to stay and engage in the political fight for our country is correct. If we on the left don’t fight for it, we are giving our country over to the right wing.

  14. markbittner Says:

    One thing that’s clear is that there is a tremendous amount of general dissatisfaction—at least among people who are paying attention. We’re all on a treadmill that has little possibility for variation. Just as our use of resources is economically unsustainable, our current way of life is psychologically unsustainable. There has to be a point at which we’re able to pursue that which makes life worth living. But it’s very, very hard right now. I think you should worry more if you were in step with what most of the others are doing. A lot of people are completely lost because they’re in step with what this society wants them to do, which is, basically, be a worker bee supporting the rich men’s hives. I don’t know when or how it happens, but there has to be a change.

  15. Ph Roubinet Says:

    Bonjour Mark,

    Its your french friend talking, Philippe.
    Just a few words to say the following:
    Greece is in a hole that was created mostly by all the greeks that didn’t pay taxes (Rich , middle class and poor) and the anglosaxon bank GS that helped the different greek governments to “cook their books”. I don’t think anyone outside of Greece would like to go and live there NOW !
    As for the other people that think to relocate in southern Europe ( including France) think again…grass is not always greener on the other side.
    Judy is right, one has to cultivate their own back yard and try by small actions to improve their community. She has done a good job at this !
    “Continuez les Amis…”

    All the best for the completion of your book and beleive me I would
    rather vote for Obama then all these french politicians that I have “to choose from”.
    Even in bankrupted California, you are better off then in rest of the world.
    I have been around a lot of places on this planet and I can testify.

    Amitié
    Philippe (the french parrot-angel)

    • markbittner Says:

      Hello Philippe,

      The essential point has gotten lost in all the talk about why leave the country and where to go. The point is that the USA is going to become a miserable hell if the Republicans win the next election. Their mindset has become sociopathic, which is to say, completely selfish.

  16. linda Says:

    The way I see it, the republicans and the religious right and the tea party are using social issues to distract from the economy, they are using abortion, women’s rights, and welfare (among other issues) to distract from what they are doing to the economy. It all goes back to bleeding the middle-class and the poor of what little they have to feed the wealthy and their pet politicians. They are trying to all appearances to make us into serfs, with the banks and the wealthy forming an elite class that can have cheap or free perpetual laborers and warriors for their factories and their wars. If you look back in history, religion has always been used to control the masses with fear of a god, who may or may not exist, of a hell or heaven that may or may not exist.

    My mother spent most of her life looking forward to the rapture, I didn’t believe in it even as a kid, it sounded more like a fairy tale than a fairy tale. She died many years ago still believing.

    I do see that there will be a change in this world, I don’t know when exactly, It’s something like a dream, I had, sometimes my dreams are true dreams and they happen, this will be a long time in the future after I am gone from this life possibly 100 or 150 years, but I do see it happening. Perhaps I sound a little crazy, but I see the world breaking apart into smaller countries with smaller governments and less globalization. You may laugh but I see California as a separate country with it’s own government and a separate economy. The whole gist of this dream says that we the people will win, that was the important thing, but it will be a long time coming and a long fight.

    • Thoma Lile Says:

      Here is the problem as I see it. There’s no way to get around the misuse of the Christian religion, because Christians have a mandate to convert everyone. Their religion doesn’t allow them to respect other religions, because adherents to other religions are going to hell. This lack of respect for others gives them a sense of superiority to the point that they can justify whatever they do. They can abuse other people, start wars on other people, pretty much do whatever they want without any sense of wrongdoing as long as they can put a religious spin on it. Look at W. Bush. He invaded another country without provocation, called it a crusade, and congratulated himself on the deed. And the fundamentalists applauded and praised him for “fighting for our freedom.”

      Granted, some Christians will not go this far, but they don’t seem to try to stop the ones who do which seems to me to be just as bad. Until the Christian religion takes a good hard look at itself and makes some necessary changes, this country will continue to be split between the conservatives–yep, the run of the mill followers are voting from their religious stance–and the rest of us who grow more and more fed up with them. But speak up against them, like I am doing here, and you have a good chance of not being hired later when a company runs a background check.

      Once awhile back, Mark wrote about evil and I challenged him on it and said I didn’t believe that people could be evil. I was wrong. The Christian right are evil. There’s no other word for it.

    • markbittner Says:

      I see the U.S. eventually splitting up into smaller nations as well. I think we’re on the way there now. There are a lot of ideas coming out of places like South Carolina, Arizona, and Texas that I will never be able to support, give allegiance to, live by—regardless of who wins some election.

  17. linda Says:

    Your point is well taken Mark, if the republicans win a majority again they will make this country into a hell for normal thinking people. The sad thing for all of us is that there is really no place to hide. We need to become politically active in a way that will guarantee that this will not happen. The whole problem with democrats is that we will not fight unless we are pushed to the wall. We tend to be very passive about things even things that matter to us. I would like to see a viable third party arise in this nation, but I don’t think it has much of a chance at this time, so I would suggest that all who are against the type of tyranny that the republicans and their cohorts are trying to establish, vote democrat even though that falls far short of our needs right now, it is the only game in town, if you choose to make your voice heard by voting for a third party candidate you are making a statement that will be over-shadowed by the loss of the election to those that we really need to be afraid of. Your political statement will fall on deaf ears, even now the republicans are working hard to disenfranchise as many potential democrat voters as possible in Florida and other states. The one company with the most control is Die bold and they are owned mostly by republican supporters, and Die bold controls election data in many parts of the country, if not all. Many of us are planning to vote absentee ballets so there is a paper trail that can traced in the event of a problem.

    • markbittner Says:

      I agree with all of this. I vote by mail as well. Not for your reason—although it’s a good one.

    • Thoma Lile Says:

      Linda, I agree wholeheartedly. We have to make our votes count against the Republican candidates.

  18. joe rosas Says:

    dear mark,i understand,my country is well on it’s way to becoming
    a miserable oil-sands & mining hell as well,but i suppose what i’m
    suggesting is,under such circumstances,what to do? Simplifying one’s life,protest,political activism,or yes,even leaving (my country
    greatly benefited from the influx of draft-dodgers & possibly thier
    influence greatly contributed to our Old status as caring,reasonable,peacekeepers,which in turn served as a
    considerable bulwark opposing the then u.s’s extreme right’s
    influence in the world) could be solutions,or paths to consider; at the same time,it didn’t kill the states back
    then that so many left,but did underline to one & all the degree to
    which the system was completely,irretrievably,undeniably,
    out-of-whack.

    dear thoma,i’m not under the impression anyone is suggesting
    giving up interaction with thier fellow man or the internet,& that
    the expression “hermit” is relative,proof is our conversation right
    here,which can be had from anywhere in the world,my parents
    also were farmers,& survived the war in europe,people in
    densely populated areas were hungry,but if they were hungry in
    the country it was because the germans/russians/nazies Took
    Everything,even then,they were still better off,Digging & establish-
    ing a good subsitance garden’s the sweaty,patience-testing part,
    but that’s 4 to 6 wknds max for one heck of a garden! After that,
    it’s a piece of cake,agriculture’s greatly improved since,even my
    da’s blown away at the productivity of simple,low-maintenance/no
    maintenance biological gardening!,if not the wealth of information/
    conversation now available via the net to Any farmer!

    cher phillipe,France still has Great publicly-funded healh-care &
    at least publicly funded subsistance/pensions for the poor/old,
    & (here i referance Agnes Gruda’s “Les Glaneurs”) a law that
    says (est-ce encore le cas?) Any farmer Must leave whatever’s
    left after harvest in the fields a minimum of 2 weeks that others
    may chose to finish cleaning up/gathering,thus contributing to
    the health of anyone willing to make the effort,before plowing it
    all under.& lots of land/dying villages/ghost towns left to populate.
    None of which california has,no surprise urban farming has gone
    from an archaic old hippie concern to a worldwide mouvement
    given the present circumstances,

    love & respect to all the old hippies out there,gen-xer joe ;))

  19. joe rosas Says:

    dear linda,no one here ever believed Our third party would ever
    win federally,that voting n.d.p. New Democratic Party would work,
    but they governed entire provinces (profitably! & they’re center
    -left!) for decades,other parties adopted/stole thier ideas & now they’re the official Opposition in parlement! Losing Jack Layton
    was to cancer was a terrible blow,(comparable to losing j.f.k for
    the states),but if we Don’t vote for the good guys,whomever they
    might be,they’ll never win! All we are saaaying…..(alltogether now!)

    joe.

  20. joe canuck Says:

    Having historicly been elected to leader of the official opposition in parlement,
    having long & hard-fought cancer & the right wing,days from
    dying,”smilin’ jack” (layton) wrote us canucks an open,courageous,
    parting letter,..it ended with the following:

    My friends,love is better than anger,hope is better than fear,
    optimism is better than despair.So let us be loving,hopeful &
    optimistic.& together we’ll change the world.

    All my best,

    Jack Layton.

  21. Karen Says:

    Unhappily, I will be with you voting for Obama again. He has not been the leader We The People needed, but I strongly disapprove of what the Republicans have been doing these last four years; obstructing anything that might ease the suffering of the 99%’ers just because they want to make Obama a one-term president, and their corporate masters richer. They’re despiccable!!

    On the other hand, I have to send some kind of a message to Obama and the Democratic Party, and the only thing I can think to do is re-register with the Peace & Freedom Party. I know it’s little more than a gesture, akin to the Move Your Money campaign (and, yes, I moved my money to a credit union), but I’ve got to do something.

    On a lighter note, there is a story and video on Commondreams.org (http://www.commondreams.org/further/2012/06/16-3) about a town in Michigan that saved its library by using reverse psychology against the Tea Party/No Taxes crowd. Essentially, they created a campaign asking people to vote No on the bill that would raise taxes for the library and invited people to come to a Book Burning party after the election. I was surprised so many people didn’t recognize the sarcasm, but lots didn’t, and they got incensed enough to raise a hue and cry, go to the polls, and vote to save their library.

  22. JB Says:

    I did not vote for Obama in 2008, but I celebrated his election. I voted for Ralph Nader. After 4 years I will say that I am more proud to be a USA citizen than I was from 2000-2008. While I am not happy with everything Obama has done in his tenure, I did not expect him to hold true to every promise he made. I am unhappy with some of the promises he did keep, such as sustaining the USA military action in Afghanistan. I have the luxury of voting in California where I know the majority of my fellow citizens will vote for democratic candidates. Thus, I tend to vote for the candidate who has a political ethic most closely aligned with my personal beliefs and these are usually third party candidates. In this election it might very well be Obama.

  23. Shelley Says:

    I wish I was able to share your optimism about one more chance, but I just can’t. I also wish I could tell Anne Frank she was wrong. There is not good in everyone. The political whores in DC live in a parallel universe and are totally disconnected from the real world. It seems an honest person simply could not work through the snake pit in Washington to achieve any common good. The only possibility for some REAL change and hope is a cataclysmic event that would cleanse the house of mirrors.

    • markbittner Says:

      It’s not optimism. But I can’t explain it in a blog. It permeates my book.

  24. Michael Vogel Says:

    Moving to an outpost of the empire won’t get you out of the empire.

    • markbittner Says:

      I’m not saying it would. The appeal is to be in a place that has not totally lost its heart. But I’m not going anywhere.

    • Kathy Says:

      And, it would get me to an outpost!! lol….

  25. Lynn Says:

    A close friend and I have been discussing these same topics you folks are writing about. What we need to do right now is just stick close to each other, do good whenever we have the opportunity–such as urban gardening, buying as much locally-grown GMO-free food as possible, and–most importantly–stick together and help each other. This country’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

  26. Barbara Says:

    OMG nooo…boo obama…. Our country has gone down hill since he took over!

    • markbittner Says:

      You’re assuming our country was on some kind of high before Obama “took over.” I don’t see it that way at all. We’ve been on the descent ever since Reagan opened the door to greed. But we weren’t doing well before Reagan either. We like to think of ourselves as a Great Nation. The greatest ever. But “powerful and rich” is not the same as “great.” They are the opposite of greatness. Or perhaps I should say, they lead to its opposite.

    • Lynn B. Says:

      I’m with Mark on this one, Barbara. There is only so much Obama can possibly do. I feel he has accomplished quite a bit, considering all the opposition he has getting anything at all through a belligerent and un-cooperative Congress. I am certain they would oppose him if he submitted a proposal that the sky is blue most days!!

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